Category Archives: Short Stories
Lately I’ve been doing so much researching heavy topics (re: Chernobyl, death by acute radiation syndrome) that tonight I just wanted to unwind and do something conventional, like write a half-assed story. So here it is. I guess if you can say anything about it, it’s that it is exactly 1081 words long.
Okay, so, there’s this elf. Dark elf. She’s an assassin. Not just any assassin: she’s a political assassin from an ancient clan of assassins, also some accountants. These assassins are like an official department of government. Like M-15, they’re licensed to kill. Anyone can hire them, and they’re traditionally used to settle feuds between oligarchies.
I know what you’re thinking: you stole that right from James Bond. Well, you’re wrong. I stole it from the Elder Scrolls. Just deal.
Our assassin’s name is Iachilla, which means little spider, and boy does it suit her. She’s got moves you ain’t never seen, because you seen these moves, you’d be dead, and you’re not dead, you just wish you were so you could get out of reading this. Iachilla: deadly government assassin. That short blade she has? It won’t just cut your flesh. It will drink your soul. She’s a dark elf, she’s into some messed up stuff. She’s also single. Isn’t that hard to believe? When she’s so wonderful, you should see her thighs, like bridge pylons from all that running through the shadows, she could probably crab-walk up a wall with thighs like that. The rest – just imagine it. Small face, bright yellow cat eyes, teeth – she’s a woman with everything.
Everything … except a boyfriend.
One day Iachilla is assigned a mission from the Torag Mong (I stole that) requesting her deployment to another city. Iachilla slides her trusty blade into her boot, grabs her bag of poisons, cashes a ticket to the clan treasury for travel funds, and hires a carriage to the next city over. In all honestly she’ll be glad to get out of this rat-infested slumheap for a couple of days. Iachilla might be a spider but she’s not crazy about fleas and she’s even less crazy about getting shanked by a street urchin in an alleyway. That sort of thing happens here. It’s all hush-hush but the street urchins are out of their goddamn minds. There’s some sort of brain-rotting disease in the water and the urchins of course have to drink from the canals with no option of boiling beforehand. It’s a sad circumstance but not what the story is about.
Iachilla helps herself to the empty back of the wagon, feeds the driver a couple of silver bits, and listens to him talking to himself about how much he hates street urchins as the wagon winds through the dirty city streets into the clean relief of the hills. The ground under the wagon wheels is mud infused with gravel shovelled into the worst potholes. The wagon still bumps up and down enough that conversation is a constant game not to bite off your tongue. Iachilla doesn’t know how to talk to people so she’s content to listen to the driver.
“-ouch!” he says some twenty minutes from the city, and Iachilla knows she’s in for a period of relaxing silence.
A while later, just as the swelling in the driver’s tongue is coming down, the wagon happens over a steady rise capped by a crumbling watch tower. It’s double storey and wood, and it stinks of mildew and earth. There’s a long skinny figure standing half in and half out of the tower’s late morning shadow, and having apparently long listened to the wagon crunching and bumping through gravel and mud, now raises his long arm in greeting.
The wagon squelches to a halt.
“You got money?” says the driver, or rather, “Oo dot moogey?”
“I’m but a priest,” says the fellow. Indeed, he’s in a dark purple robe trimmed in white fur at the collar and silver lace brocade on the cuffs, though his brown gumboots are rather more perfunctory. His face, Iachilla finds, matches the hands slipping the knapsack from his shoulder, that is, marginally too long and thin to be handsome, but with a gentleness and precision that makes Iachilla think more of a doctor than a priest. She lets her hand fall away from her blade.
The driver gives a shrug. “I’m but a driver. I still need to make a living, mate.”
“Of course,” says the fellow, with a quick, uneven smile that amplifies his long mouth and bent nose. He is too tall for an elf, but his skin is a purplish blue, a few hues lighter than Iachilla’s. He takes a purse from his knapsack and presses some coins into the driver’s waiting palm. He’s tall enough that he leans over the horse, look, don’t get ridiculous about that image, I mean over its back, as in he was about a height with the horse, if you think the horse is only up to his knees and he leant over it then you’re being absurd, absurd enough you should be writing your own story, but you’re not, you’re reading this one, so just stop hassling me and listen.
“To the city? That’ll be enough, won’t it?”
The driver peers at the bits of ore in his palm, and then sniffs them, and then jerks his head. “Get in the back.”
The fellow does so. His face lightens upon witnessing Iachilla, though it was not the thought of her thighs, but rather the thought of what he might sell her, that lights it. He takes his seat and leans forward gently as the wagon sloshes off on its journey.
“Brodil’s the name,” says the fellow. He doesn’t look like a Brodil, but that’s the best I could come up with in five seconds. “I’m a holy man of Namy. You are…?”
“Uninterested,” Iachilla replies. She draws her legs up to her chest, so that she might better reach her dagger. “I don’t want any of your Namy tokens, preacher.”
This was not as vulgar thing to say as it appears, as Brodil has unbuckled both straps from his knapsack and is rolling it out on the wagon floor. Wooden engravings of Namy on leather thongs and little elephant avatars carved from troll teeth litter the roll. Iachilla fondles her own amulet, which is in ode of the god of death, Traboox.
“That so?” says Brodil, cocking his head, and blinking at her with those long-lashed orange eyes. As he moves the scent of smoked cherrywood drifts from his robes. It’s an inviting scent. Iachilla shifts in her place. She watches the thin, quick hands peel back a layer of the knapsack, pushing away the holy trinkets to reveal an impressive array of small, dull-coloured powders and knives
There you have it. A story exactly 1083 words in length. I wonder what would happen if it were 1500 words long?
Spoiler alert: they bang and it is CRAZY.
Ever write stories like this? Share em!